The Western Hockey League’s very best regular season team of 2021-22 has seen its executive staff earn league-wide recognition in the WHL’s annual year-end awards show.
Head coach James Patrick was named the recipient of the Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy, awarded to the WHL Coach of the Year, while president, general manager and alternate governor Matt Cockell was announced as this year’s Lloyd Saunders Memorial Trophy winner as WHL Executive of the Year.
The awards came on the heels of the club’s very best season all-time. Winnipeg went 53-10-3-2 in 68 games, earning the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s regular season champion, but lost out to the second-place Edmonton Oil Kings in the third round of the postseason.
Under Patrick and Cockell’s watch, the ICE set new franchise highs in points (111), home points (60), road points (51), wins (53), home wins (29), road wins (24), goals for (317), goals at home (178), total points by players (830), total assists by players (527) and home shutouts (7), while seeing seven players score 20 or more goals and 12 players score 10 or more goals.
Under Patrick, Winnipeg has gone 103-39-5-2 over three seasons in Manitoba. The team finished second for two-straight years before moving to first-place in 2021-22. The 21-year NHL pro began coaching as an assistant with the Sabres upon his retirement in Buffalo in 2005. He joined Kootenay in 2017-18 and has since been with the team through its relocation to Winnipeg in 2019-20.
“I’m very thankful, very surprised. Over my five years I have learned there are a lot of great coaches in this league and many worthy candidates who do great jobs with their teams,” the 58-year-old Patrick said. “I’m very fortunate I coach a number of good players. I am lucky to be part of this group.”
WHL Coach of the Year Nominees
B.C. Division – Kris Mallette – Kelowna Rockets
Central Division – Steve Konowalchuk – Red Deer Rebels
U.S. Division – Dennis Williams – Everett Silvertips
Cockell has served as president, general manager and alternate governor of the ICE since 2017. During his tenure, the Club has seen six players selected in the NHL Draft, while forward Peyton Krebs was named the WHL Player of the Year in 2021.
“The whole group deserves a ton of credit for what they have put in place for our players. I’m thankful for the opportunity to work with this group and to help give our players a great experience,” the 43-year-old Cockell said. “The players, first and foremost are why we do what we do every day. There are amazing people in our League, for there to be any recognition in terms of the program, the players and staff have done with the ICE, it’s certainly appreciated and motivating.”
WHL Executive of the Year Nominees
B.C. Division – Bruce Hamilton – Kelowna Rockets
Central Division – Brent Sutter – Red Deer Rebels
U.S. Division – Bil La Forge – Seattle Thunderbirds
The 2022 WHL Awards were voted on by WHL General Managers and members of the media.